US - The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (SRPS) has committed around $600m ($477m) to real estate funds for 2009.

The real estate commitments will be made to six property funds and are designed to help the pension fund reach its target allocation for real estate of 10%, up from the 6.5% allocated at the end of fiscal year 2008, according to Mansco Perry, chief investment officer of SRPS.

"These investments were made in the ordinary course of our operations to move towards our strategic asset allocation. We are constantly searching for appropriate real estate investment ideas," he said.

The funds being targeted are the Lubert Adler VI, Frogmore II, Secured Capital Japan Real Estate Partners IV, Starwood Capital Hospitality Fund II, Capital Debt Fund II and TA Associates Realty IX.

SRPS declined, however, to reveal how much is being allocated to each fund.

"The allocation we make to individual funds is a reflection of where we are in our investment cycle, the type of fund under consideration, the performance of the specific investment manager, among other factors," said Perry.

The pension fund's real estate portfolio, which includes direct properties, commingled real estate funds and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), returned -27.75% in 2008.

The fund's property assets were valued at approximately $1.9bn on 31 December 2008.

Over the course of last year Maryland reduced its target allocations to domestic equities and fixed income and increased its target allocations for international equities, real estate, private equity, absolute and real return assets.

The pension fund had $36.6bn assets under management for fiscal year 2008, a $2.8bn decrease on the year before.

The SRPS administers death, disability and retirement benefits for over 350,000 active and former state employees.

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